Young Practitioner Spotlight: David Mol

Published: March 1, 2020

Leslie Flores Arochi & Lindner Mexico City, Mexico

One does not always follow a straight career path in becoming a trademark practitioner. This was the case for David Mol (Tilleke & Gibbins, Cambodia); his journey included giving up his snowboard and moving to a country with an average temperature of 26° Celsius!

After participating in several snowboarding world championship competitions, Mr. Mol enrolled in the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s degree in international law. After completing his studies, Mr. Mol accepted an internship with a non-governmental organization in Cambodia that works with the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. He went on to lecture at Cambodia’s Royal University of Law and Economics and eventually settled into trademark law practice at Tilleke & Gibbins, which was expanding operations in the country.

At Tilleke & Gibbins’s Phnom Penh office, Mr. Mol takes on trademark infringement and counterfeiting cases, both at the manufacturing and sales levels, working closely with the Cambodian Counter-Counterfeit Committee in successful raids and seizures. He advises clients in the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. As part of his daily work, he also advises on regulatory affairs and matters relating to labeling and advertising, which he integrates into trademark strategy. This is of particular importance given the growing threat of brand restrictions in the region.

Mr. Mol and his team have seen many cases of poor quality (and even poisonous) counterfeit food, cosmetics, alcohol, and medicines in the region. “Education among the public, the authorities, and judicial offices of trademark laws is a key issue to address,” he notes.

Tilleke & Gibbins has worked with INTA in organizing Unreal Campaign events in several countries in Asia to educate young consumers about the dangers of counterfeit products, and Mr. Mol is eager to organize the first one in Cambodia. On behalf of INTA, he has also enjoyed participating in meetings with government officials and exchanging points of view about intellectual property in Cambodia. For Mr. Mol, INTA “is the really big community of trademarks practitioners that you can always contact and share issues, knowledge and information with, to then take that back into your work, to help develop the trademark ecosystem.”

Mr. Mol advises current law school students considering a career in the trademark field to find something you really enjoy within the trademark field and focus on it. In doing so, he says, they’ll bring greater value to their company or law firm. He also notes that when he began his career in trademark law four years ago, he viewed trademarks as assets primarily for famous and well-known brands; since, he has come to realize how trademarks are also valuable for small companies. “When you have a small business, as soon as you register your trademark, you have immediately added good value to your company,” Mr. Mol says.

When asked about his favorite trademark, Mr. Mol recalls that when he was younger and wanted to become a professional snowboarder, he would see the BURTON brand on TV and was intrigued by their big B logo as worn by “cool snowboarders.” “I knew I wanted to become sponsored by this company,” he says. “At the end, I was for a few years.”

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© 2020 International Trademark Association